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More than 300 years of development


More Than 300 Years of Development

WingTsun™ is Grandmaster Leung Ting’s modern day teaching system but it has been under development for over 300 years. Many stories have been written on its origins including the standard one that a Buddhist elder of the Siu Lam (Shaolin) Monastery, a woman named Ng Mui, invented it from her expertise in Siu Lam Kung Fu. Some history ‘experts’ think they know how it was developed but in reality we have only verbal traditions prior to the 19th century. Accounts earlier than Leung Jan are not written accounts. We have some idea that certain early practitioners did exist we but have no confirmation of their role in its development.

Soon after the ‘Ip Man’ movies (which were also fictionalized to one degree or another) became so popular, it seemed that Wing Tsun – Wing Chun lineages appeared everywhere. Not all of these lineages came through Yip Man who lived in the 20th century.

There is a little game some of you might have played in school. It involves sitting in a circle and whispering a sentence or a short story to your neighbor. That neighbor passes it on to the next person and they pass it to the next and so on until it gets around to the last designated person in the circle. The story or sentence is inevitably changed, sometimes drastically by the very end. You then might imagine how much a martial art system might change after having been passed down for hundreds of years! There is even a claim by its descendants that Leung Jan who taught Yip Man’s teacher, developed another, shorter martial arts system after he officially retired that has not been spread wide!

This is one reason why Grandmaster Leung Ting standardized his own teaching system and called it Wing Tsun which is different from the spelling more commonly used by other students of the late great Grandmaster Yip Man.

Despite all this, WingTsun retains many elements of what some say are the original Siu Lam Monastery training elements such as breathing exercise, meditative aspects, stance training, and exercise for the joints.

The presence of these aspects of WingTsun gives credibility to the side story that soldiers whom were rebelling against the government took refuge in the monastery and learned Buddhist disciplines and health practices. In turn, the monks were taught the martial arts of the soldiers.

Leung Ting’s WingTsun has undergone development in just its 40 years of existence. WingTsun has a flexible nature and this opens it up to many different interpretations and even misunderstandings. Those that have low level knowledge of the concepts can well destroy the original, practical content of the art.

As with anything with skill and technical content, periodic review and training of skills are needed to stay current and that is why you will see even our association’s high Level Technicians and Practitions go back the source.